Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September 8, 2009 - And so it goes

Charles tells Kristoffer things that he won't tell me, because he is the man of the household. Annoying but true. When he picked Kristoffer up from work yesterday, K said to him something like, "So I heard you went shopping today..." to initiate a discussion about Ida's potential theft. Charles told him that when Ida would go shopping she would have a list on a piece of paper where she recorded what she spent. When she would get into the car to go home she would ask him to wait a few minutes and she would then transfer the list to the notebook I gave her and re-record the prices...except increase them! It does no good to pester Charles about why he didn't tell us - telling on someone is a sin in Kenya...nobody will do it! that is partly why corruption goes on and on...Kenyan's will never blow the whistle! - but it does explain why she tried to get him in trouble before she left: she obviously thought that he did tell on her, leading to her getting fired. An eye for an eye, I guess - even though it wasn't true! And she is supposedly a leader in her church.

We have not posted something for Ida at the UN, and will not at this point, and we've decided that if she calls me again I will tell her that I hope she saved the money that she stole from us to help her son go to college in Tanzania next month. If she asks whether we posted the ad for her, I will not lie.

And I'm sorry to keep writing about this - you must be bored with reading about it by now... but it turns out I'm a little bit obsessed with the situation because normally I consider myself to be a good judge of character. This whole time she was just lying to my face (when I asked her to record prices she actually said, "but I would never steal from you!") and manipulating me and I don't like feeling betrayed.

The drought conditions in Kenya are getting worse. Kristoffer had three reports at work last week of children dying supposedly from hunger, although I don't know if that that has been confirmed. My friend's husband is the East African correspondent for the NY Times and published this article in today's paper. It discusses WFP as well and does not paint a pretty picture of life in Kenya right now.

At the UN today, an email was circulated discussing measures taken to reduce water consumption on the UN compound because even their boreholes are running low. They will be drilling even deeper boreholes and are doing things like: adjusting the amount of water used to flush in toilets, recycling water for irrigation, using disposable cutlery in the cafeteria (although not a long term solution because of other environmental outcomes of this), using hand sanitizers in the bathrooms instead of soap and water, among others.

At home, even though we have a borehole here and have not been given restrictions, we are more conscious than ever of not showering too long, of not doing extra loads of laundry, and of conservatively using water during the day for cleaning (which is easy since Ida is not here now!). As the NY Times article points out, this drought is horrible but in October it have been forecast that we might get El Nino conditions which will lead to the opposite problem: horrible flooding, and all that goes with it (roads destroyed, crops ruined, etc.). If only there could be a happy medium.

LMW

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